Hawk Eye on West Indies v England Fifth ODI: Stoked for Stokes

Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes
Plunkett and Stokes are men to follow
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Ed Hawkins says the England top-bat market is wide open in Gros Islet on Saturday afternoon and it would be wrong to miss out on value...

"Of course when a market has the wrong favourite, it is possible to argue that pretty much everyone else is value"

West Indies v England
Saturday 2 March 13:30
TV: live on Sky Sports

Jonny be good

Jonny Bairstow has had a disappointing series. A return of 90 from three innings at an average 30 is not too shabby but the Yorkshireman has set high standards in the last two years.

He came into this series a true 11/4 chance on the top England runscorer market on two-year form. We bet him twice and we lost twice before swerving him in games three and four because we had doubts that the pitch would be true enough.

With another belter expected in St Lucia, it could be time to revisit the wager. After all, despite not copping in three games the 7/2 offered by Betfair Sportsbook is still value. That's 1.3% points in our favour.

Also in Bairstow's favour is the price of the favourite, Joe Root who is rated at 16/5. There is no way on earth he should be as skinny. With seven wins in 44 he should be closer to 11/2

Of course when a market has the wrong favourite, it is possible to argue that pretty much everyone else is value. And that rather makes plumping for just one wager a hard sell. For example, we have Ben Stokes at around 11/2 but the 10s on offer is bonkers value given how often he wins. And he has won once already in this leg of the tour.

Maybe we don't have to bet Bairstow, then, to outscore his team-mates. We don't think he is out of form - a strike rate of 116 would suggest he's having few difficulties - so a runs quote of over 31.5 takes our fancy. On career form he busts that mark 52.8% of the time.

Could be an edge on run rate

Sportsbook are offering 5/6 over or under 74.5 runs in the first 15 overs in the first dig. It's a tempting buy considering the run-fest so far and the reports of another easy batting wicket.

The scores in the first 15 overs of the match in the series so far read: 74 (WI), 81 (WI) and 105 (Eng). To bust, the required run rate would be just five, which sounds like a stroll in the park in these bat-dominated times.

That's the key number. In matches involving West Indies in the last 12 months the average run rate is 5.6. For England it's 6.22. Of course, these rates are over the course of an entire match rather than 15 overs in the first innings so the picture is a little muddy.

Hold off

Jason Holder is 9/1 for top West Indies bowlers. We have him more like 5s. But we're worried we'd be betting a loser because of the flat nature of the pitch.

What we want for Holder to be stand out value - despite the chunk in our favour - is a dodgy wicket which would see the likes of Chris Gayle, Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer dismissed cheaply.

In short, our wager could go down very quickly, maybe inside the first 15 overs. It's smarter to make a note of Holder's name and keep our powder dry for the World Cup.

One man we will keep faith with is Liam Plunkett at 7/2 for top England bowler. He's more like 11/5 on two-year form.

Hawk-Eye P-L

2019 - points p-l: +15.57 (35 points staked)
2018 - points p-l: +9.86 (89 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)

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